Local dishes often contaminated by international ingredients, which make them unique, are the expression of 7 restaurants chosen by Gambero Rosso in the Sicilian hinterland, in Caltanissetta and its province.
Where to eat in Caltanissetta
Brasserie. Located on Via Libertà, Carlo Pecoraro's establishment serves excellent food, showcasing the discovery of new flavours and traditions in an intimate setting. The menu features traditional dishes accompanied by international recipes, bringing new tastes to the heart of Sicily while maintaining the concept of simplicity associated with the format. In the kitchen, there are no chefs, but rather a collective of young talents who convey their passion and love in every single dish. The wine and beer lists predominantly feature Sicilian products to highlight the local area while not neglecting the rest of Italy and abroad. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
In the cover photo, their fresh pappardelle with wild boar ragù.
Caltanissetta, Via Liberta 96, 327 118 2505 - talea.cl.it
Located within the Hotel Villa Flora Relais, on a natural terrace overlooking the hills of the Nisseno area, Chef Marco Calabrese offers dishes of regional and local origin presented in a modern style, with great attention to high-quality local ingredients. Among these, a must try is the Veal Tartare, crispy egg yolk, summer black truffle, “tuma persa” cheese, hazelnuts, and balsamic pearls. The “In Barrique” cellar, where exclusive tastings and dinners are available upon request, houses a meticulous selection of wines from Sicily, all over Italy, and around the world, including a preference for champagne. Open daily.
Caltanissetta, Contrada Bigini s.n.c. +39 0934 568633 – villaflorarelais.it
Jovenca macellai in cucina
In the city's expanding area, Calogero Ventura, after learning the butchering trade in his father's and grandfather's shop, opened his restaurant to share his great passion for meat with guests. It's a place where people can eat well, feel at home, enjoy dishes of both local and foreign meats, selected directly from his butcher shop. In the kitchen, Angelo Rizzo shares Calogero's vision, creating always new recipes that valorise meat and meet their guests' expectations. The name derives from the type of animal, giovenca, meaning heifer, that Calogero's grandfather used in his butcher shop and which he himself uses in his restaurant. Don't miss the meatballs, made with selected minced meat and a particular processing method. The wine list, featuring Sicilian and Italian wines, is extensive, as is the selection of craft and non-craft beers.
Open every day for lunch and dinner, closed on Sundays.
Caltanissetta, Via fra Giarratana, 104, 0934 199 5103 - jovenca.business.site
Located on Viale Regione is the restaurant of Chef Alessandro Papa. His cuisine is based on research, tied to the quality and seasonality of ingredients from local farms and breeding farms, which he works with, without neglecting origin and tradition, giving life to dishes closely linked to the land and local culture. Among these, it's worth trying the suckling pig cube. The chef, always attentive to the needs of his guests, also offers dishes for those with gluten intolerance and vegetarians. The restaurant has a wide cellar curated by the chef and his wife Silvia, who, in addition to being a sommelier, also takes care of the service and welcomes guests. The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner, and on Sundays only for lunch.
Caltanissetta, Viale Regione, 198, +39 0934 563258 - ristorantealessandropapa.it
"In Gela, the birthplace of Archestratus, a poet from the second half of the 4th century BC, whose work, “The Life of a Gourmand,” is considered the first gastronomic guide in history, you'll find the Sabìa restaurant. Chef Totò Catania, known in the catering world through Appeteating, has recently begun a collaboration with the La Rosa family in managing the restaurant. His cuisine is Mediterranean, original, and innovative, featuring both meat and seafood dishes, along with some vegetarian options. It's characterised by a constant quest for balance and harmony between flavours from land and sea. The menu is à la carte, and there are also seafood and meat tasting menus that change with the seasons. Among the must-taste dishes on the menu is the saffron risotto with seafood and sage flowers, whose colour recalls the golden beaches of the Gela coastline. The dining area features an open kitchen and vintage design details. The wine cellar offers Sicilian and national labels. Open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, open for lunch on Sundays, closed on Mondays.
Gela, Via Gian Maria Volontè 5, +39 392 632 6935 - Instagram
Where to eat in Butera
Dentro le mura, osteria contemporanea
In the medieval village of Butera, inside the Arab-Norman Castle, spouses Carmelo and Maria Grazia Giuliana have brought to life the contemporary osteria “Dentro le Mura.” An exquisite cuisine, led by Chef Stefano Toscano and his wife, sous chef Pilar Toledo—Sicilian and Spanish, respectively. Here, excellent local and seasonal ingredients, mainly sourced from the surrounding area, blend with some Spanish gastronomic traditions, transformed innovatively to create original and enticing dishes. Examples include caramelised salted duck breast with beer and honey, Dijon mustard sauce, potato millefeuille, sautéed vegetables, and dehydrated raspberries. The ambience, enriched with modern and industrial elements, contrasts with the facade of the typical X Century castle. The menu boasts over five hundred labels, including various offerings from small, lesser-known wine artisans. Open for dinner from Monday to Sunday, closed on Wednesdays.
Butera, Castello Arabo Normanno, Piazza Giudice Costa 2, +39 0934 683343 - ristorantedentrolemura.it
Where to eat in Riesi
Bistro. Giuseppe and Sara Toninelli, along with chef Enrico Pantorno, aimed to showcase their territory by starting with an iconic product from central Sicily, the muffuletto, a typical bread made with a mix of flours and anise seeds. They brought this project to life with the support of Resto al Sud. Returning to the south, the trio sought to reboot a product typically made during the November 1st holiday and November 11th, proposing it throughout the year. Giuseppe and Sara returned from Milan, and Enrico returned from Thailand, having worked in Dubai and on Etihad planes as a personal chef for Diamond First Class guests. With his technique and high-quality ingredients, he aims to elevate the muffuletto, now a vehicle for gastronomic culture, offered in unconventional taste variations and fillings. It transforms from a simple home bread to a symbol of sustainable cuisine that enhances the flavours of the region. A blend of rich Sicilian flavours that brings together people and products, tradition and modernity, paired with Sicilian wines and beers. In a lively, colourful, and modern venue, narrating the passion for a generous but often underestimated land.
Riesi (Cl), Via Soldato Antocci, snc, +39 389 788 4433 - muffuletteria.it
by Cristina Barbera